Inexpensive and Indispensable Travel Toys

A couple of days ago I highlighted a discussion in which frequent travelers mulled items to include in a gift box for their friends and family who are about to embark on what might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Today, however, I would like to draw your attention to a post at The Deal Mommy, and the comments of course, where frequent travelers are discussing the one item they bought for themselves that has transformed their travel experience. For Dia Adams (The Deal Mommy), the one small travel toy that she now can’t do without is a relatively inexpensive camera:

I just want my tech to do what I want it to do, no bells, whistles, or new versions necessary. However, I just upgraded to a Wifi Camera and it is a life changer.

I still haven’t sprung for a wifi camera myself – and for the life of me I’m not sure why. But even coming in at less than $100, Dia’s small price-big value travel toy can’t compare in affordability to Miles’ transformational toy:

My favorite travel “gadget” is an inflatable beach ball, costing less than a dollar at party supply stores and weighing only an ounce or two. For redeyes, I inflate it and hold it in my lap as a sort of pillow that I can lay my head down on.


Not as comfortable as my bed at home, but lots better than no pillow at all.

That sounds pretty good … if I’m sitting next to someone I know. But am I really going to casually pull out a beach ball and start blowing it up when seated next to a stranger. Less awkward than falling asleep on his/her shoulder I suppose.

Another nice idea, among several, from Erik:

HooToo Tripmate – it is a portable travel router, 6000mAh backup battery, and NAS streamer in a small package about the size of a Snickers bar. … great for rooms that have a weak wi-fi connection – you can place the HooToo in the part of the room where the signal is strongest (i.e. by the door) and it will re-boost the signal to your devices.

What is the one relatively trivial purchase you have made that has become your can’t-imagine-traveling-without item?

Read the post and discussion in its entirety: The $99 Toy That Has Changed My Travel

Image: “81.365_world.in_hand” by Todd Morris. CC BY-SA 2.0.


  1. The Satechi portable travel router/travel adaptor with a USB port for charging just about anything. It’s a 2 inch square that gives you your own wireless network using the hotels Ethernet cable. All this for $44, well worth the price.

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